Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Park Place Opens atop Georgia Avenue Metro

Park Place, perhaps Georgia Avenue's most momentous new development, was celebrated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony today. The new apartment building, a $71 million, 200,000 square-foot housing and retail project atop the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro station, was built by Donatelli Development. Donatelli teamed with DC-based Gragg & Associates to work on the project, a 161-unit residential with 17,000 s.f. of ground floor retail. Mayor Fenty issued a press release and said the opening of Park Place meant that "economic development on Georgia Avenue has finally arrived." Amen.

Though construction is still incomplete, the development will soon add 156 rental apartments and 5 rental town homes. The building will offer 20% of the space as affordable housing, something the community has long desired, according to Fenty. Residents will also have access to 187 underground parking spaces in addition to the Metro. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on the landscaped roof, which boasts views of the National Cathedral, Capitol Dome, and National Monument.

The retail space will be divided into 8 bays and the occupants will include a cafe, two sit-down restaurants and potentially a wine store. Local businesses from the U-Street area (familiar with Donatelli's project there) are considering coming to the area to build their second or third DC-location in the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Community, according to the developer.

Funding for the project came from several sources including $15 million from Canyon Johnson Urban Funds (a partnership with Magic Johnson), $55 million Citibank and $2 million of Graggs and Donatelli's own coffers "because of the financing state."

Donatelli was awarded the low-income supporting contract without govt. subsidy by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development through a competitive process in 2004, and construction began in 2006. The project was originally intended as a for-sale condominium, but the meltdown in condo prices in Petworth forced the conversion to for-rent units. Chris Donatelli has had a busy few weeks, just last week we reported on his planned development adjacent to the Benning Road Metro. Donatelli, which also revitalized Columbia Heights, is building another, smaller apartment building across the street from Park Place.


Que said...

Did the Metrobus return to where the use to stop at directly infront of the station or are they still a block from the station

Shaun on Jul 15, 2009, 9:37:00 PM said...

I took the metro there, but I did take a picture from the rooftop in which a metro bus was parked right next to the metro, there appears to be a bus stop right there.

Muirphy on Jul 16, 2009, 1:01:00 PM said...

It's a beautiful building.
Who's the architect?

Anonymous said...

How much Section 8 housing is within walking distance? I think that's a metric potential homebuyers in the District could use. I don't see the City Council closing up taxpayer-subsidized housing with any ease, so that means people spending $700,000 on a condo will be permanently living the ghetto. Fun!

Greg on Jul 16, 2009, 2:20:00 PM said...

Torti Gallas and Partners are the architects and are amoung one of the architects for the Columbia Heights Revitalization

Anonymous said...

While there may have been no direct subsidy of the city's general fund cash, the city did subsidize the affordable housing by receiving a lower price for the land it sold than if the project was allowed to have 100% market-rate apartments. The reason for this is that the cost of building an apartment unit in a high-rise concrete building is greater than the value of a unit with an affordable rent. I personally think this is a good use of city funds, but please correct your statement that there was no subsidy---again, the subsidy was provided by a lower land sale price than if the building would have been 100% market-rate housing.

This land value subsidy has been used by the DC government very successfully in many other projects: virtually all the Columbia Heights residential porjects on city land, the City Vista project in the Mount Vernon Triangle and the CityCenter DC project to be built on the old convention center site. In addition, the city's Planned Unit Development projects are basically the "sale" of addtional density for a project for $X and then the city "spends" $X on afforrdable housing and other community benefits.

Gerry Widdicombe
Director of Economic Development
Downtown Business Improvement District

Anonymous said...

Any timeline on City Center DC? Would love to see them start digging!


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